Thursday, August 28, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Son of Annals of Vinyl

SSJ Records of Japan has just issued its first two LPs, both of which are already in the label's catalog as CDs. Not only is vinyl becoming popular again in the country (I refuse to say "hot"), but tube amps are also experiencing a resurgence. The "joke" about the Creveling LP is that the original 1955 issue sells (even in somewhat distressed condition), for big bucks. And this new perfect LP is virtually identical to the original. . .just minus the scratches and surface noise. My name is on both as, in the case of the Kenney, release producer or reissue producer. Can cylinders be far behind?
I would like to thank writer Keizo Takada for the nice article about SSJ's "One Shot Wonders" series in the September 2008 issue of Japan's Jazz Critique. Nice to see one's name in print occasionally, even if it is in Japanese katakana.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Annals of Vinyl

"For playing on the [1964] 'Introducing Sue Childs' album, I received sixty dollars, a pair of pants [?] and a box of Sue’s album,” jazz guitarist Bill Pasquale told me recently. “At the time. I said to one of the producers, Jim Sotos, ‘What do you expect me to do with all of these records?’ Sotos said, ‘Give ‘em to your friends, I guess.’ Which is exactly what the musician proceeded to do, hanging on to only a couple of them in the process. Too bad he didn’t hold on to more, for today the original vinyl of the recording sells in the $300-$400 range. Not bad for a release that certainly didn’t sell out its original pressing of 1,000 copies.

The reason for the extreme bump in the original price has to do not only with the fact that the LP is by a good but obscure singer (whose only recording this was), but also by virtue of an appearance on the release by tenor sax player J.R. Monterose. And just how, exactly, did the legendary (and highly collectable) musician end up on not only this recording but another one as well on the small, fledgling Rock Island, Illinois Studio 4 label, operated by musicians Jim and Tony Sotos? It’s something I’ve long wondered about, and finally, in my conversation with guitarist Pasquale from his home in Brookfield, Illinois I was told the following story: “J.R. Monterose was traveling as a sax player in the band of, of all people, the rock group Jay and the Americans. Somehow Monterose stayed behind when the band left Rock Island and he stuck around.“ Pasquale laughed, then added, “I guess you should have called the group ‘J.R. and the Americans.

The musican was thus taken up by the local Rock Island, Illinois jazz community and for a while became a very big fish in that locale’s somewhat small jazz pond.
By the way, I highly recommend a CD, Girl Talk, that the above-noted guitarist recorded recently with his wife, singer Sue Pasquale.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

One Little Pinky Finger Up

Just saw a screening of the Anita O'Day docu, formerly titled Indestructable (now called The Life of a Jazz Singer) after Anita's inarguably unlistenable last recording. With the exception of a few minutes of footage from the sessions for that unfortunate affair and the inclusion of her errononious recounting of arranger Gary McFarland's death, not nearly as bad as I'd expected.
Whether she is the "Jezebel of Jazz" might be debateable (I never even heard her called that until after her death), but in the film she clearly retains her claim to the title of, for once and all time, "The hippest chick on the block." I was especially amused by her recounting of how the idea for the legendary ensemble she wore in Jazz on a Summer's Day, came to her almost as if in a dream and was executed in what would seem to have been fiteen minutes flat. And I laughed out loud several times at Anita's patronizing ways with straight reporters querying her about heroin use. She simply can't hide her amusement over their cosmic lameness.
Made by the same party who also produced the lamented last CD, so only begrudgingly recommended.